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also a curious notion that filth and squalor imply contempt for
material surroundings and therefore high spirituality, the logical con-
^clusion of which is that heaven must reek with stinking angels.

When this essay was written, Su Tungpo said that both he and his
brother thought the condemnation too extreme. Only Chang Fang-
ping heartily approved. However, very soon Su Tungpo's contem-
poraries were to find out how true the prediction was; and the
essay survives to this day, revealing the uncanny insight of the old

Very soon after he assumed office on the board of finance, Wang
Anshih tried to test the political ground under him. Emperor Jentsung
was ruling at this time, and Wang submitted to him a long memorial
on governmental policies, running to about ten thousand words. In
this document he enunciated the basic principles of his financial reform,
the principles of "using the nation's power to produce the nation's
wealth, and using the nation's wealth to provide for the nation's expen-
diture". He said that since the beginning of the dynasty, the govern-
ment had suffered from insufficient revenue, and this resulted from
the lack of a good financial and economic policy. Such a policy had
not been thought of only because there were no men great enough to
deal with the problems. The men in power at the -time, he said, were
not "great" enough for this job, nor did he think that there were other
talents in the country who could be called into power. He cleverly
Pointed out that in making radical reforms, one should connect them
with the practices of the ancient kings so that people would not regard
them as a radical departure from the past. But then, he said, in follow-
ing the tradition of the past, one should not copy the methods of the
ancient kings, but rather their intentions, which were, after 'all, only
for the good of the people, no matter how the policies differed. On
the whole, it was a very well-written and well-organised treatise on
political reforms, covering every aspect of government, including
finance, civil service, and even education.

If Wang Anshih wanted to test his political ground, he found that
the ground yielded under his feet. After reading the long
memorandum, Emperor Jentsung laid it aside and let it sleep.
During the short four-year reign of the following emperor, Ingtsung,
Wang was once recalled, but again he declined office. Historians
usually give the reason that he felt uneasy because he had advised
against the nomination of Ingtsung as successor to Jentsung, who had
died without an heir.

Meanwhile, Ingtsung's son, who was to succeed him, was living at

* Incorporated in a tomb inscription of Su Shun, written by dhang Fangping.
Some scholars who wish to defend Wang Anshih try very hard to prove that
this piece was a forgery, by pointing out that it was not^included in Su Shim's
works. Su Tungpo's own testimony, however, confirmed its genuineness.         ^